Tower Lord - new viewpoints and plotlines for A Raven's Shadow

Posted by Sevhina on Sat, 05/13/2023 - 00:28
Tower Lord Book Cover

I really liked Blood Song and was hoping for something similar in its sequel, Tower Lord. The first book was basically Vaelin's life story in his own words. Tower Lord attempts to follow its many plots from all sides which makes it a less coherent novel. The story picks up from the end of Blood Song with Vaelin's return home. As a returning hero, or notorious warrior depending on your point of view, the new King appoints Vaelin as Tower Lord of the Northern Reaches. Vaelin would prefer to search for the missing Brother Frentis, the only dangling plotline from the previous book. Instead he finds himself dealing with aggressive tribes, petty feuds, and a woman out for revenge. One guess which is the most dangerous. Then there is Frentis who finds himself in thrall to a foreign sorceress and Princess Lyra who is determined to find him even if most people think he's dead. The Scribe Venier, who recorded Vaelin's tale in Blood Song, is now serving an Imperial General and relating events as they return the favor and invade Vaelin's country. All of this is the fallout of the traitor and Vaelin's actions in Blood Song but it leaves little room for the character development that was so engrossing in that first book.

Tongue Eater - strange new worlds abound in Mage Errant Book 6

Posted by Sevhina on Sat, 04/29/2023 - 05:52
Tongue Eater Book Cover

Hugh's world has been completely shattered. His teacher Alustin betrayed him and turned Hugh's pact with Kanderon into her downfall. He also stole the cruelest weapon their world has ever produced, the Tongue-Eater, which is capable of stealing a language and rendering its speakers mute for one or more generations. Sabae always suspected that they were a means to an end for Alustin, but not even she predicted his quest for revenge against the Empire would lead to such blatant treachery. With Kanderon presumed dead, and only one injured council member left, Skyhold is broken and leaderless. Hugh is convinced that Kanderon isn't dead and he is willing to do whatever it takes to help her, while his friends concoct a desperate plan to stop Alustin before he unleashes the Tongue-Eater. It's a plan that will literally expose them to multiple new worlds in the process.

The Siege of Skyhold - epic battles in Mage Errant, Book 5

Posted by Sevhina on Sat, 04/15/2023 - 04:41
The Siege of Skyhold Book Cover

Hugh and his friends survived the City of Ithos but Hugh was badly injured in the process. Kanderon's enemies are coming for her, the Splinter, and the Tongue-Eater, which she's had since she originally used the Splinter. She keeps it in the Skyhold Vault with the other things that should never be used. That is, after all, the true purpose of the Librarians Errant of Skyhold, to collect dangerous items and remove them from the world. Back at Skyhold they are preparing the defenses but with most of the Council killed by Bakori there is one wounded councilor, one admitted traitor, and Kanderon who has been gone dealing with Ithos. They may be weaker than usual but Kanderon built Skyhold with strong defenses and she has strengthened her alliance with the other Powers of the Erg desert even if many of them cannot leave their territories.

The Lost City of Ithos - its return might be the end of the world (Mage Errant 4)

Posted by Sevhina on Sat, 04/01/2023 - 03:27
The Lost City of Ithos Book Cover

Sabae thought that Kanderon and Alustin used her and her friends as bait for the demon Bakori, but it turns out that Bakori was not really considered a serious threat. Kanderon and Alustin admit they were wrong about that but they were actually busy preparing for a far worse threat. Given that hundreds of students and most of Skyhold's powerful council died to Bakori, that's saying something. No one knows why the ancient Ithos Empire that once conquered the entire continent suddenly fell apart hundreds of years ago. It fell because they killed the mate and children of a young sphinx named Kanderon who then used her crystal and planar affinities to create what she calls the Splinter, which exiled the capitol of Ithos to a far distant world. She knew it wouldn't last forever but hoped the population would die before the Splinter ran out of power and the city returned. There's no way of knowing when it will reappear, but more than one faction wants to be there when it does. An Empire that opposes the Great Powers like Kanderon wants both the Splinter as well as the Ithos weapon known as the Tongue-Eater. Unfortunately Ithos poses a far greater danger than those powerful items. Kanderon later learned of a race known as the Cold Minds, that devour whole worlds in an effort to escape death. When Ithos returns there is a good chance it will bring the Cold Minds with it, and they devour whole worlds.

The Fires of Vengeance - the time for revenge has come

Posted by Lore on Fri, 03/17/2023 - 23:59
The Fires of Vengeance Book Cover

Queen Tsiora is a young and unproven leader, so her willingness to ignore the caste system of the Omehi people is making her a lot of enemies. She prefers to name the most capable people to key roles and that includes Tau, who has been named Queen's champion even though he is a lesser. Decisions like that have sparked a rebellion as the Noble caste resists her changes and offers up her sister as the "true queen." This would be problem enough for any ruler, but it is happening at a time when the Omehi people are about to be attacked by a stronger enemy, so fighting amongst themselves is only going to result in their ultimate doom. This dire scenario is bad for the Omehi people, but it is an opportunity for Tau. This infighting provides him a path to the revenge he seeks against Abasi Odili, the Noble who killed his father. Abasi is leading the rebellion in order to maintain the status quo that gives him a permanent advantage over lessers like Tau, and therefore Queen Tsiora has ordered Tau to kill him. That will be no easy task but Tau is ready to sacrifice everything, and everyone, to make it happen.

A Traitor in Skyhold - the Mage Errant series delves deeper

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 03/10/2023 - 22:08
A Traitor in Skyhold Book Cover

Hugo not only survived his summer travels with Alustin but stories of their accomplishments preceded them home to Skyhold. Thus, his fellow students have now dubbed Hugo "Stormward". Alustin is being cagey about the purpose of that trip but Sabae suspects that he used her and her fellow students as a cover to spy on the dragon Idris. There is no doubt that Alustin has been a remarkable help to Sabae, helping her make the most of her strange magic, so she is keeping her distrust to herself for now. Her doubts only grow when they get home and the four friends are tasked with ferreting out a traitor on the Skyhold Council. Kanderon has known for years that someone on the Council has been working against her but she was angered when the traitor made sure a vote to protect Hugo from Bakori, the demon in the labyrinth below Skyhold, went against Kanderon. The Council claims to believe Kanderon is exaggerating the danger to ensure an easy test for her "Pact"ed student, but she is certain this is a direct attack against Hugo because of their Pact. Hugo and his friends are uncertain how much help they can be, but except for Sabae, they trust Alustin and Kanderon implicitly.

The Rage of Dragons - a tale of revenge in an interesting world

Posted by Lore on Fri, 03/03/2023 - 19:13
The Rage of Dragons Book Cover

The Omehi people have a caste system and Tau Solarin was born at the bottom of it. That makes him a lesser just like his father. The bad news for lessers is that the Omehi have been fighting an unwinnable war for hundreds of years and the lessers are front line fodder in that conflict. However, Tau has a plan. He is not a violent person, but he is a determined one, so he is willing to go to great lengths to live his full life. When he comes of age, and it is time for his testing, he plans to purposely sustain a permanent injury to keep him out of the war. Better to be maimed than to die early in the war. Tau is young man with the determination to make such a sacrifice; however, he never gets the chance. Before his testing day arrives, those closest to him, including his father, are brutally murdered by a few members of the noble class. Nobles are bigger, stronger, and better trained than lessers so his father never had a chance. Tau's rage knows no bounds and he decides to twist his determination into a new plan. Become the greatest warrior his people have ever known, and then kill the nobles responsible for the death of his father. Of course, Tau is still a lesser and determination alone is not enough to overcome the odds stacked against him...

The Mage Errant series - a unique magical world, books 1 and 2

Posted by Sevhina on Sat, 02/25/2023 - 00:40
Into the Labyrinth Book Cover

The blurb for Into the Labyrinth is hardly unique; an awkward insecure student of magic must somehow find his talent before entering a monster filled maze at the year's end. This is really the story of four students, three of which have unusual parameters to their spellcasting, and their enigmatic mentor who is determined to turn those challenges into opportunities that will make them effective battlemages. In a multiverse world where most of the population has at least some magic, and every mage's abilities are unique based upon their affinities and casting style, the characters have more in common with the average superhero than Harry Potter or other "kids studying magic" books. Also, despite what the blurb says, the Labyrinth isn't the focus of the first book, which would be better described as the adventures of a young team of superheroes as they face epic villains, traitors, and mysterious named Powers, all while trying to avoid becoming the pawns of interplanar politics.

Sweep of the Heart - the Innkeeper Chronicles go all out in this 6th installment

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 01/27/2023 - 21:17
Sweep of the Heart Book Cover

Book 6 of the Innkeeper Chronicles pushes its mix of fantasy and sci-fi humor to the edge of the ridiculous with this galactic version of "The Bachelor". The Spouse candidates are a fantastically diverse group of aliens and according to rumor at least one of them wants to assassinate the Sovereign of the Dominion instead of marrying him. But behind the "show" there is a surprising amount of substance. The metaphorical spotlights are on several minor characters from previous books and at long last we learn Caldenia's backstory.

Tress of the Emerald Sea - a standalone novel of the Cosmere universe

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 01/13/2023 - 03:11
Tress of the Emerald Sea Book Cover

If The Princess Bride were written by Hoid, also known as Wit, it would be something like Tress and the Emerald Sea. The tale begins as many YA fairytales do with Tress setting off to rescue the boy she loves from an evil sorceress. However, since Hoid is our narrator, it loses the feel of a YA book with the first detailed description of the gruesome way people die if they happen to breathe in a spore from the Verdant Sea. Since the Sea is made up of spores instead of water, it's a fairly common fate for those travelling across it. At least the Verdant is the least dangerous of the seas that she must cross to find her love while escaping smugglers, surviving on a pirate ship, and negotiating with a dragon. It's a good thing she makes some friends along the way because all of that is easy compared to facing down an immortal sorceress.